If you are thinking of moving to Javea, Denia or Moraira on the Costa Blanca and you have children your thoughts will be filled with which school to choose.
Many expat parents who move to the Costa Blanca find it difficult to decide whether or not to enrol their children in a state school or a private school. Like many countries full time education for children aged between 6 – 16 years is compulsory. Home schooling is legal in the UK but not in Spain
State schooling in Javea , Denia and Moraira is of a very good standard and it is free. Parents are responsible for providing the books required for their child’s education but normally there are no other fees. In many areas bus transport to and from school is also provided free of charge providing that the home to school distance is 3km or more. Until recently at the junior state schools meals were also provided free of charge for any child entitled to free transport, but since the recession this provision has been withdrawn in many of the schools. Uniform is not worn at school and all the teachers are addressed by the first name.
The infant and junior school for ages 3 – 12 years starts at 9am and finishes at 4.30pm. There is quite a long lunch break between 1pm and 3.30pm. Children who have opted for ‘comedor’ or school dinners can stay and will be supervised. Those who haven’t opted for comedor are free to leave but must return by 3.30pm. This is quite difficult for children of working parents as it is a big break in the day where the children will need supervising. The price of the meal is approximately 5euros each day (2014) . Lunches brought from home are not allowed. Some of the junior schools in Javea have recently started to differ the hours so that a long lunch break is no longer included.
The senior schools for ages 12 – 16 years start at 8am and finish between 2pm and 3pm depending on the year your child is in. There are no school dinners provided but a cafeteria is available for students to purchase drinks and snacks. Students can stay on at school after the age of 16 to complete the equivalent of a college course ‘ciclo’ or their A Levels ‘Batchillerato’
The language used for the teaching is Castellano (Spanish) along with the language of the comunidad. For example in the Valencian region the lessons are taught in Castellano and Valenciano. If your child goes to school in Javea, Denia or Moraira they will be multi lingual by the time they leave school. They will be fluent in Spanish, Valenciano and English. What a wonderful gift any child could hope to possess!
For new students who can’t speak Spanish please parents do not worry. The teachers and the government in the Javea, Denia and Moraira regions have implemented a wonderful support system. Your child will be placed in a class with others who are still learning Spanish and initially they will be taught at a slower pace until they have mastered the language.
This type of education is total immersion and the children soon learn the new languages. The younger the child the easier it is to absorb the information and become fluent very quickly. Older children may find it more challenging but they also learn very quickly.
Initially it may be decided for the student to repeat the year –this is very normal for foreign and Spanish children but this is only done after discussing the needs of the individual student with the parents.
If you do choose to enrol your child in a state school it is quite an easy process. You will need to be on the Padron, have a tenancy agreement or proof of living in the area, get a medical check for the child and visit the education department in the area. This may sound daunting but with the help of a good translator it is all very straight forward. In Javea parents and children are encouraged to go and visit the school before they enrol so that they have an idea of what to expect.
It’s worth getting a copy of your child’s academic record before you leave the UK especially if your child is going to enrol in secondary school. The school may ask to see this. The local health centre will do the school health check – if you have a EHIC – present this at the health centre along with passports and the child will be allocated a doctor who will do the health check.
In the next article we will cover Private education in the Costa Blanca region
Link to Education Centres in Javea